Manatees: The Cows of the Sea

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Manatees, or sea cows, are quite different creatures of the sea. Not only do they swim slowly and awkwardly, they tend to have a rather awkward appearance to accompany this behavior. Even though many haweve heard about these majestic marine mammals, few understand everything there is to know about them. There are three main types of manatees: the West African manatee, the Amazonian manatee, and the West Indian manatee. The West Indian manatees themselves can be divided into multiple subspecies: the American, Antillean, Caribbean, North American, and Florida manatees. Though there are several kinds of manatees, the West Indian manatee is the most well known in North America. The taxonomy (Appendix A) of the manatee begins with the kingdom Animilia. After the kingdom, comes the phylum Chordata, and then the class of Mammilia, which is a combination of the human population and most vertebrates. The connection with other mammals ends there. The manatees are then put into a much smaller order, which consists of only three species (one being extinct), with the name of Sirenia. This order obtained its name because of the thought that they looked like Greek mythological creatures called Sirens or mermaids. Biochemical analysis of proteins has been used to determine the distinct relatives of the manatees. These relatives include elephants, aardvarks, and hyraxes. The similarities between these mammals include the lack of collarbone and having nails instead of claws. Adding on to this belief of these mammals being related, evolutionists believe that manatees actually evolved from some kind of wading, plant eating animal (Save the Manatees Club). The exterior anatomy (Appendix B) of a manatee is not as complex as one would think. It i... ... middle of paper ... ...s. New York: Children's Press. McDonald, Mary Ann. (1998). Manatees. Plymouth, MN: Child's World. McDonald, Mary Ann. (2006). Manatees. Chanhassen, MN: Child's World. “Save the Manatee Club.” Save the Manatee Club. Retrieved March 15, 2014, from . Shorecrest Preparatory School. (n.d.) Shorecrest Preparatory School. Retrieved March 15, 2014, from . Stanford University Medical Center. (2006, August 31). Manatee Bones Lead To New Insight On Evolution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 15, 2014, from . Swinburne, Stephen R. (2006). Saving Manatees. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills. U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Result Filters.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved March 15, 2014, from .

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